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There’s no choice here. Buy it!

Some choices are harder than others.

Growing up, student Gavin Grimm knew about choices. He knew whether to eat worms on a dare, whether to sneakily adopt a pet frog and hide it from his mother, and that he had to make a choice about standing up for his right to use the boys’ bathroom at school. This last choice, however, was deemed controversial by a transphobic teacher and by students who bullied Gavin. But Gavin still had a decision to make: He could stay silent, or he could fight back. In this picture-book, trans activist Grimm, with author Lukoff, documents his early life and his role fighting for trans rights, a battle that sadly is far from over. The story’s simple but direct text and vibrant digital illustrations work in tandem to create a beautiful, harmonious story that deftly documents Gavin’s fight and explains why trans rights are basic human rights. While librarians and educators will find this an essential title for their shelves, book clubs and individual readers will equally find it useful for discussion, contemplation, and as an excellent introduction to the discussion of trans rights from a humanist perspective. While Gavin’s story is far from over—and he may have many rocky roads ahead—this book will help readers and their caregivers better understand why it was necessary for him to make these difficult but vital choices.

There’s no choice here. Buy it! (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06305-756-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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